Foreigners are now prohibited from using their national driving licence as the official permit to drive a vehicle in Russia. The ban, however, applies only to foreigners who work as drivers or perform other official employment duties that directly require the use of a vehicle in the country.
Companies that have foreigners working in such capacities must prevent them from using company vehicles until they obtain a valid Russian driving licence. To this end, those employees must pass a special examination in a regional department of the Russian Traffic Police (“GIBDD”).
The new rules are set forth in Federal Law No. 92-FZ dated 7 May 2013*, but only came into force on 1 June 2017.
It is a company’s obligation to ensure and control that its foreign employees who are using vehicles as part of their official employment duties have a valid Russian driving licence. Companies that fail to comply with this obligation may be subject to an administrative fine of RUB 50,000 (approx. EUR 790) for each violation. Based on the current practice of Russian regulatory bodies and courts, the total amount of a fine may be multiplied by the number of drivers who are found in violation of this rule.
Importantly, the new rule applies not only to expatriates who work as drivers per se, but also to those whose job duties expressly require using company vehicles. Thus, we strongly advise that our clients review the employment agreements, job descriptions and actual job duties of all their expatriates working in Russia in order to identify those whose jobs require using company vehicles in the country.
These new rules do not apply to foreigners whose official employment duties do not require driving company cars. This means that expatriates who use company cars merely as an additional benefit provided by their employer are not subject to these rules. They may continue using their international or national driving licence to drive corporate cars in Russia.
* In Russian